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Omberg 2016 - sample and data collection for better understanding of the complex epidemiology of anthrax

Published 2017-03-08
During summer 2016, an outbreak of anthrax was reported from Omberg, and eco park in the county of Östergötland, Sweden. The outbreak, which caused mortalities in livestock and wild animals, differed from previous outbreaks in modern times, with more extensive and long distance spread. The purpose of this proposal is to secure material and data from this recent outbreak, in order to build knowledge for better predicition, prevention and management of outbreaks in the future.
Anthrax is a severe bacterial disease that can be lethal, in particular to grazing livestock. It is also regarded as a serious condition in humans. The disease was common in Swedish livestock in the first half of the 20th century.
After half a decade with only single reports, four outbreaks have been reported since 2008. Most likely, there are several reasons for this increase, but important aspects are changes in land use and in the climate.
Anthrax is one of few diseases under the so called Epizootic Act that regularly causes outbreaks in Sweden.
The Epizootic Act is a law that dictates the enforcement of extensive control measures against certain important animal diseases,. Apart from the fact that each outbreak constitutes a risk to animal and human health, it is also very costly. The contribution and participation of hunters, farmers and other animal owners in the control of anthrax is therefore very important, and their concerns and solutions can be of guidance in shaping future
contingency plans.
Many features of the material that we aim to collect are of limited duration, such as antibodies in animals that have come in contact with the bacterium without falling ill, contamination in the environment and also people’s recollection of the event. It is therefore urgent to gather samples and information close in time to the outbreak to ensure that this opportunity to learn more is not lost.